Livin' on the MDedge

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Fly the organ-friendly skies

Much like the proverbial stork, a drone flew 2.8 miles over Baltimore during the early-morning hours of April 19 to deliver a precious cargo.

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What? No, it was not a baby! Are you nuts?

This drone was, in fact, the first unmanned aircraft to deliver a human donor organ – in this case, a kidney. This next big step for medicine was taken by the team of Joseph Scalea, MD, of the University of Maryland in Baltimore, one of the surgeons who performed the transplant. In earlier test flights, Dr. Scalea’s team was the first to use a drone to transport medical supplies, such as saline and blood tubes, between the launch site and the helipad at the university medical center.

The custom-made drone “needed to meet the rigid medical, technical, and regulatory demands of carrying an unaccompanied deceased donor organ for human transplant.” It has backup propellers, backup motors, dual batteries, and a parachute recovery system, as well as an organ-tracking system, unlike current methods, according to the university.

Our regular reader (Thanks again, Dr Pepper) may remember that LOTME recently reported on San Francisco’s “Poop Patrol” and suggested that the media would hail it as “Uber, but for poop.” Care to take a guess at what Dr. Scalea called his drone?

That right. “Uber for organs.” Sigh. That’s supposed to be our job. No, wait a second!

Okay, here’s one: “organ droner.”

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